Originally Posted by Troutslayer
A couple of things. I do have a bone to pick with Cabela's as I've owned a lot of the things that they refer to as "outfitter series" and they have all crapped out on me, from cloths to waders to packs. I have used that Alaskan pack though I never owned one and it is certainly significantly heavier than the alternative. As far as water, what I like to do is have a few plastic bottles that are light and pack small so that I can be drinking out of one or two while another one is chlorinating. There are also instant purification methods that don't require a filter. I do a lot of winter mountaineering and sometimes that means melting snow and if you're gonna melt it you might as well boil it which also takes care of parasites and bacteria. Chances are that if you're backpacking there is minimal risk of giardia and though I won't suggest it to anyone, I often drink right out of a small creek or spring. I don't like the filters because they can freeze and the housing can crack which renders them useless. Make sure you purge your filter of all water if you're going to expose it to freezing temps. Sometimes the hose will get blocked with ice or the whole filter will be clogged with tiny ice crystals.
I understand some gear didn’t work out for you (I’ve owned high-end “alternatives” that haven’t worked out either which goes to show $$$ isn’t always the answer), but I’m still failing to see what your dislike of Cabela’s products has to do with Wal-Mart??? My interpretation of your final point in your initial response was that you consider Cabela’s a “big-box” retailer and that alone—not necessarily the gear they carry—influences you to shop elsewhere and is a reason you’re advising others to do the same.
On the pack-weight issue, I still disagree. In my opinion the difference between a good empty pack frame and empty internal-frame pack is negligible, and in my experience it’s much easier to carry loads secured to a rigid frame than with a pack that allows weight to shift with each step. Just my thoughts, no big deal.
It doesn’t matter how “light” and “small” the bottles are—water weighs the same no matter what you’re putting it in. You’re still talking about carrying around a bunch of H2O for hours waiting for the tablets to work. Your points against a filter cracking and purging the unit are very good ones, but what’s to say your spare bottles won’t freeze in the same weather while you’re waiting? Do your pills still work if half the bottle is full of ice? Besides boiling, why aren’t you using any other “instant” methods of purifying without filters as you stated, instead of waiting 4 hours for fresh water???
Melting snow is terrific advice, but what do backpacking and giardia have to do with each other?!?! Does the bacteria not like the backcountry or something?? You can pick it up (as well as a host of other micro-nasties) in numerous places!